Pharma firm gets over 2mln euros to fight animal antibiotics in human food

Bacteriophage (a phage for short) appears to have spider like legs, a coil body and hexagonal shaped head. Raman Oza

A Łódź pharmaceutical company has received over 2 million Euros to reduce animal antibiotics in the human food chain.

In an attempt to find a solution to the well-known overuse of antibiotics in animals farmed for human consumption, the use of which has led to an increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria strains, Proteon Pharma has begun developing environmentally-friendly micro-organisms known as phages - a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria. 

According to the American ‘Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy’  73 percent of the world's antibiotics are used in farming.

Proteon Phrama has been given a 2.9 million EUR grant to help develop phages to fight bacterial infections in fish farming, otherwise known as aquaculture farming.Marcin Bielecki/PAP

In October 2018 the EU voted to ban prophylactic use of antibiotics in farming, which will come into force in 2022. 

While this will help fight antibiotic resistance it doesn’t help with the amount of diseases transmitted from animals to humans. 

The World Health Organization says that as much as 60 percent of the pathogens that cause diseases in humans are of animal origin.

Matthew Tebeau from Proteon Pharmaceuticals said: “Products based on bacteriophages are an effective tool for fighting bacterial diseases in farmed fish, as they eliminate only the specific pathogenic bacteria while not damaging the animal’s microbiome.”Proteon Pharma/Twitter

Specialising in farming, Proteon Phrama has now been given a 2.9 million EUR grant to help develop phages to fight bacterial infections in fish farming, otherwise known as aquaculture farming.

Matthew Tebeau, Member of the Management Board and Chief Operating Officer at Proteon Pharmaceuticals said in a press release: “Farmed fish producers are looking for efficient alternatives to antibiotic use and for effective preventive and curative treatments in aquaculture. 

Proteon Pharma is developing environmentally-friendly micro-organisms known as phages - a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria.Guido4/ Wiki commons

“Products based on bacteriophages are an effective tool for fighting bacterial diseases in farmed fish, as they eliminate only the specific pathogenic bacteria while not damaging the animal’s microbiome.”

The additional funding will allow now Proteon to improve and automate the process of searching for and selecting proper phages for use in aquaculture farming.